Google Spam Policies Updates: What’s New and Changed? 

spam

Google’s March 2024 Core Update has already been rolling over and is expected to target websites with “unhelpful” content. It’s interesting to note that Google modified its spam guidelines to specifically mention a few new kinds of spam.

Let’s discuss what exactly got changed in Google’s spam policies and what and how it might affect your SEO strategy.

Changes In The Spam Policies

Two new sections have been added to Google’s Spam policies:

1. Expired Domain Abuse

Expired Domain Abuse is the new type of spam also known by most as domain squatting. Expired Domain Abuse happens when a domain name that has expired is bought and used mainly to trick search engines by displaying information that is of little to no interest to users.

Earlier Google said that buying expired domains is of no use or benefit, but that doesn’t seem completely true.

So, how exactly were search results manipulated by purchasing expired domains?

Buying an expired domain in a relevant category with high-quality backlinks is one way to expedite the authority-building process. When a user does this, all the pages from the expired domain are redirected to relevant pages on the website that wish to improve their site authority.

Some users do this to take advantage of the authority that others have established for the site. It is not fundamentally wrong but Google is targeting and penalizing sites that use spammy methods to build authority.

Examples of expired domain abuse

• Affiliate links on a website that was formerly owned by a government organization.

• The sale of commercial medical products on a website that was formerly owned by a medical charity without profit.

• Content about casinos on a site that used to be an elementary school.

2. Site Reputation Abuse

This is another type of Spam that Google is targeting to reduce unhelpful content. This type of spam is also referred to as Parasite SEO or pSEO.

Site Reputation Abuse happens when third parties release pages with little to no supervision or participation from the first party, with the intention of manipulating search results by utilizing the ranking signals of the first-party website.

Publishers still have time to organize and modify their tactics as Google’s sanctions for site reputation abuse won’t take effect until May 2024. They need to determine if they want to break off collaborations, de-index pages that might break this policy, or (I guess) take a chance and keep going.

3. Scaled Content Abuse

The previous section in the spam policies – “Spammy auto-generated content” has been redesigned to “scaled content abuse”.

Users will fulfill the condition when content that has been made programmatically with no originality or adequate value added; rather, it has been created with the intention of influencing search rankings rather than benefiting users.

The new definition states that the method of content generation is irrelevant, in contrast to the previous definition which particularly targets programmatic content.

Whether the content is produced programmatically, by AI, or poorly by humans, what counts is that it is unoriginal and adds no value.

Here are a few examples of scaled content abuse by Google:

• Generating a large number of pages without providing users with any additional value using generative AI or other methods.

• Creating a large number of pages with minimal information for consumers by scraping feeds, search results, or other content (even using automated changes like synonymization, translation, or other obfuscation techniques).

• Merging or putting together unvalued content from several websites.

• Establishing several websites with the goal of concealing the content’s scaled nature.

• Producing a large number of pages with search engine optimized material that is confusing or nonsensical to readers.

Conclusion

I’m particularly interested in finding out what exactly qualifies as “scaled content abuse” out of everything in this March 2024 core update.

Many big organizations are using programmatic templates to populate their higher-value transactional sites with information.

What are your thoughts on this?

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